RSPCA Shop Next Gen Education
Colour mode

Mice health and welfare

To give your pet mice a happy, healthy life, here's what to do to give them the care and attention they need.

close-up of rescued mouse © RSPCA

Mouse health checks

You'll find it easier to spot when something's wrong if you're familiar with how your mice normally look and behave. Mice can become unwell and go downhill quickly, but may only show subtle signs of being in pain until it's very severe.

Mice find being caught and handled stressful, but it's important to check them for their health and welfare. Always handle them carefully and considerately, in a confident but gentle manner. Make sure they can't fall or jump from a height in their home-cage, as they can hurt themselves or break limbs if they fall or are dropped from a height.

Mice can die if they lose 20% or more of their body weight, and in 30g mice this is only 6g. If mice are allowed unlimited food and are housed in surroundings that don't have enough interest, they can become obese. Consult a vet if your mouse loses fur or gains noticeable weight.

Take your mouse to a vet immediately if they're showing signs of illness. Also remember:

  • Regular vet checks - regular vet check-ups will help spot problems early and help prevent disease.
  • Keep poisonous materials away from your mice - such as poisonous food, plants and chemicals. Contact your vet immediately if you're concerned they've come into contact with anything potentially harmful.
  • Only use prescribed medicines - treat your mice only with the medicines prescribed for them by a vet. Human and other animal medicines are dangerous to mice. 
  • Suitable gnawing material will prevent their teeth growing too long and causing health problems and pain. Mice have specialised teeth for gnawing and their incisors grow continuously. Get a vet to check their teeth and ensure they're positioned and growing correctly.
  • Watch for repetitive behaviour - barren environments, stress, frustration and/or lack of mental stimulation can lead to mice developing repetitive behaviours, which shows low welfare, so ask your vet for advice if you spot this.

If you go away

If you're off on holiday, make sure you have someone responsible to care for your mice in their cage at your home. Ideally, avoid transporting your mice unless it's absolutely necessary. If it's unavoidable, read our advice on reducing the stress of transportation for mice.

Follow the links below to find out more about caring for your mice.

Find out more